Europe

Anger over how Africans fleeing Ukraine have been treated

Nigeria’s government has reacted angrily to claims that its citizens, as well as those from other African countries, have been barred from leaving the conflict-torn Ukraine.

Border officials warned Isaac, a Nigerian man attempting to enter Poland, that they were “not tending to Africans.”

He told the Bazzup, “We’ve been chased back, we’ve been assaulted with cops armed with sticks.”

Students were also “badly abused” at the border, according to Clayson Monyela of the South African foreign office.

Several stories have also surfaced of Ukrainian security agents preventing Africans from boarding buses and trains bound for the border.

Osemen, a Nigerian, told the Bazzup that he attempted to board a train in Lviv that would take him to the Polish border but was told that only Ukrainians were allowed on board.

According to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, there are roughly 4,000 Nigerians in Ukraine, the majority of them are students.

According to him, one party was continuously denied admission to Poland, so they returned to Ukraine and headed for Hungary instead.

“Under the UN Convention, everyone who flee a violent situation have the same right to safe passage, and the color of their passport or their skin should make no difference,” Mr Buhari tweeted.

So far, more than 500,000 Ukrainians have escaped the Russian assault.

‘Only for Ukrainians’ hotel

Ruqqaya, a Nigerian university student, was studying medicine in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s east, when the city was assaulted. Before arriving at the Medyka border crossing with Poland, she hiked for 11 hours overnight.

“There were black people sleeping on the street when I arrived,” she told the Bazzup.

Armed guards instructed her to wait because Ukrainians had to be let through first. She observed as busloads of white people were permitted to pass over the border, but just a few Africans were chosen from the line. She was ultimately allowed to cross after many hours of waiting, and she flew back to Nigeria from Warsaw.

Asya, a Somalian medical student studying in Kyiv, had a similar story. She claims she was told “accommodation at the hotel was solely for Ukrainians” when she finally arrived in Poland.

She is now in a hotel in Warsaw, where she is safe. People in the city have been incredibly nice and inviting, in stark contrast to her experience at the border.

All of the African and Asian students with whom she has communicated have been granted free housing. She described the reception as “overwhelming.”

The Polish border force told Bazzup that anyone fleeing the violence in Ukraine, regardless of ethnicity, was welcomed into Poland. The Bazzup attempted to contact the Ukrainian border guard but received no answer.

 

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